Help me retire. I am 59 years old and I work. My 73-year-old husband retired three years ago. We are debt free and own our home and cars. Our youngest son is in his senior year of college, which is fully paid. I have $ 2 million in my retirement account, and our other retirement savings have another $ 5 million.
Our expenses are approximately $ 6,000 per month, which is more than covered by the minimum distribution required by my husband and Social Security. He can get medical treatment for all of us for around $ 700 a month.
I have a Well-Paid work but management and work are stressful and uninspiring. I feel financially capable of retiring, but I feel guilty for not having worked.
What’s up with that?
Feels like swimming in Florida
Caro feels bad in Florida,
Preparing for retirement is more than just getting the amount of money you need to live the rest of your life. The psychological component of preparing for this chapter is just as important, so know that you’re not alone in feeling guilty about making the transition from the workforce.
I’ll focus more on this letter about your struggles to flip the switch, but I wanted to hit the ground running very quickly on the retirement money side.
Based on the financial information you’ve shared, it looks like you may be feeling very comfortable in retirement, with the amount you’ve saved and even coming up each month. But of course I must warn you to think about all the possible expenses you might incur in retirement, including health care (the expected and unexpected costs), taxes, any major travel and emergency home or car repairs. So triple check your budgets, wallets, and other sources of retirement income you expect to receive. A financial planner could really help you ensure that the money you have invested is working for you in the best possible way and also that your cash inflows and outflows are on track.
Take a look at the MarketWatch column “Hack for retirement” for useful tips for your retirement savings path
A professional might also address the age gap between you and your husband and provide a plan on how to make the most of your money during both of your lives (this includes having the right estate planning in place). You may also want to look into long-term care insurance.
But let’s get to the non-financial aspects of retirement preparation.
First, there is no hard and fast rule on how to retire. You may be financially equipped to get out of the workforce, but if you feel bad, ask yourself why. Is it because you are worried about finances in the future? Or why do you think you should devote your time to a job if you are not yet 60? Or do you really like the idea of working and just aren’t happy where you are?
I know this column is called “Help Me Retire” but you don’t have to retire yet if you weren’t ready to. It seems your current job isn’t bringing you joy, and thanks to your large nest egg, you have options on what to do instead. You might take the time to look for another position, or maybe switch from full-time to part-time work. You may also find it helpful to quit your job entirely and engage in some sort of consultancy or freelance job.
Don’t jump straight into any decision.
“Clients should start planning their retirement long before they retire,” said Ryan Marshall, certified financial planner at Ela Financial Group. This includes financial issues, such as a budget, health changes, and withdrawal strategies, he said. But it should also incorporate what you will do with your time. You may end up retiring tomorrow, but if you have nothing planned for you and your husband to do – together and separately – you may end up feeling just as bad or dissatisfied in this new chapter.
Know that there are also many ways to deal with retirement once you get into it. I like to share the list of “six types of retirees”Created by Nancy Schlossberg, author and former consulting professor. Schlossberg has been writing about transitioning to retirement for decades and has made some changes during this stage of his life (he is now ninety and acting as a consultant for Zoom’s Life Transitions programs).
Identify the six retirees like these: the adventurer, retiring trying something new; the continuator, who follows a path aligned with his previous career; the easy glider, which has no plans and seizes the moment; the spectator involved, who can attend events in a field of interest but does not work them; the researcher, who is not yet quite sure what he wants to do in retirement, but is retired nonetheless; and the retreatant, who acts like a “couch potato” and doesn’t know what to do. Retirees can be one of these types at any point in their retirement, but which one do you think you would be?
Some retirees find that consulting work makes them happy and it doesn’t hurt to have another source of income. Others are happier to spend their time volunteering, trying out a new hobby, or cultivating a childhood passion. “The worst thing a retiree can do is nothing all day,” Marshall said.
“Some retirees may be paralyzed by the amount of information available and have a hard time figuring out what’s best for themselves,” Marshall said. “Everyone’s retirement is different and they should figure out what’s best for them and not their neighbor or friend.”
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